Cahill says ‘massive’ CSL spending could cost Chinese national team

Canberra, Feb 9 (IANS) Australia striker Tim Cahill has predicted that Chinese Super League (CSL) clubs will soon smash through the $70 million transfer barrier, but believes expensive imports may stunt the development of the Chinese national football team.

In this year’s January transfer period, many CSL teams made a mad scramble for world-class talents, usually reserved for Europe’s major football leagues. The competition splashed out almost $250 million over the transfer window, with one middle-ranking team, Jiangsu Suning, which finished in ninth place last season, spending $55 million for the services of Brazilian forward Alex Teixeira, reports Xinhua.

But Cahill, who plays for Shanghai Shenhua, said while the influx of foreign talent might help create supporter interest in the burgeoning CSL, it could come at a cost to the national team.

The Australian talisman, who scored 11 goals in his first season with Shanghai Shenhua in 2015, said the signing of star strikers from Europe and South America might impede the development of China’s home grown goal-scoring talent.

“This sort of investment in players is a catch 22,” Cahill told Fox Sports in comments published on Tuesday.

“Does it help the Chinese? To a certain extent no. When you sign players like this, everything in the final third (of the field) is up to us (international strikers); if we don’t deliver, it doesn’t happen.”

Cahill, 36, who made his name in the English Premier League (EPL) with Everton, said China (with a current world ranking of No.93) stood to slide outside the top-100 unless they began to flex their muscles against smaller nations during qualification for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.

Cahill, who has netted 45 times in his 88 appearances for Australia, said he had witnessed an extraordinary explosion in spending by CSL clubs over the past two years.

“This is going to be massive. Soon they’ll break the $100m bracket very easily,” Cahill said on Tuesday.

“I don’t know whether it’s going to help the league, but they’re investing. They’re doing great things. They’ve got the power,” he added.

“When they want something they get it, and when they don’t want something they get rid of it. It’s like a revolving clock, you’ll see a lot of players coming in, a lot of people going.”

Cahill signed a one-year contract extension with the Blue Devils in November, with the aim of returning the 1995 CSL champions back to the summit after finishing well back in sixth place last season.

Four fellow Australians have joined Cahill in China ahead of the 2016 season, including James Troisi and Michael Thwaite (Liaoning Whowin), Trent Sainsbury (Jiangsu Suning) and Ryan McGowan (Henan Jianye).

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